Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) is one of the largest grossing games on the current market with Bluehole selling approximately 13 million copies since the game’s launch. The estimated revenue of this is $390 million. That is a lot of money, even for a triple A title and it just keeps coming, which is the nature of early access titles. To put this in perspective, this technically incomplete game has made more money than the following Hollywood blockbusters: JFK ($150 million worldwide), Battleships ($29 million – this was to be expected really), Ender’s game ($125.5 million), Fantastic Four ($168 million), Ghost Busters ($144 million), and literally hundreds more. Why am I making this comparison? Because I want to, firstly, emphasise the reach of the game and how influential, whether you like it or not, it has become. So many people have bought this game and the developer has had to adapt to this growing fan base. Secondly, I want to address how large the gaming industry has become. Simple early access titles can gross higher profits than Hollywood (though, admittedly, not often).
There are so many opinions on this game out there that you might be wondering why you should listen to mine? Well, for my sins, I have logged 210+ hours on PUBG. So I really want to reflect on that experience and give an honest review to help people understand what this game really is and whether it is actually worth them spending $26.99 on. I am honestly torn as to whether this is a great game or a bad one, so I will provide a pros and cons list and let you decide and maybe even come to a conclusion myself.
#1 | Addictive
(On a side note just don’t buy this game on console or use a controller just seriously don’t, you won’t hit anything and it slows the gameplay dramatically)
This game is popular for a reason, it is genuinely very fun and addictive. The adrenaline rush a game such as this gives you is indescribable. When you first start playing there is an actual fear of other players and your survival instincts kick in. You try everything to be the last person alive: hiding behind closed doors, running to derelict corners of the map, avoiding conflict like the plague, getting annoyed that you keep dying so going out of your way to kill others, baiting players by leaving desirable items to loot then shooting them when they fall for it and so on. Reddit might tell you differently but there is no strategy that is guaranteed to win you the game, after all your chances are 1/100. I’ve won several games over the course of my PUBG career and no two have been the same. This is made better if you can play with friends. There are “duos” and “squad” servers available so you can have a friend with you when engaging in this sadistic, Darwinian game. It’s fantastic for people who want this kind of unique experience.
#2 | Customisation
There are many customisation options available, both in game and out. For starters you can choose what your character looks like and change this at any time provided you have around 3000 battle points to spare. Battle Points (BP) are PUBG’s in-game currency that you make by playing the game. You get more BP if you survive longer and get kills. There are also cosmetics that can be unlocked using this currency which is a nice touch and, if you are lucky enough to get a rare item, you can sell these on the steam market place and generate some revenue to purchase other games! Though, be warned, these cosmetics are not perfect – but I’ll save this criticism for the “Cons” section. In-game there are also many customisation options when it comes to your weapons loadout and inventory. Every gun in the game can be customised in some way, whether that is adding an extended magazine or a nice powerful scope. You can also find armour and backpacks which come in 3 tiers. Level one items are the weakest, level two are reasonable and level three are amazing (predictable). You can even find yourself a fancy ghillie suit in a supply drop that will make you look like a pro sniper – though in reality you are still very easy to spot.
#3 | Regular Updates
I felt compelled to include this because it is true. Bluehole do regularly update their game and have an anti-cheat system in operation. This means that the community is listened to and given a fair chance when in-game (though you will encounter a hacker at some point – it’s inevitable these days). The updates have also produced a lot of new content and the game has slowly become more polished month by month. However, there is still a downside to all of this – but as I said previously I will discuss this in the “Cons” section.
#4 | Gameplay
The game, at least in my opinion, looks very nice. As do the character models. The developer has also added lots of graphical features over time. For example, you drink Red Bull in the game to boost your energy bar which in turn slowly regenerates your health and boosts your running speed temporarily. Originally, when you consumed the red bull there was only a loading circle whereas, now, there is an actual animation of your character drinking the caffeinated product placement. There are many more updates that make the game look nice, such as different weather cycles (though note that there is no dynamic weather system – if you load into a server and it is raining, it will rain until you leave that game).
#5 | Winning
This is, really, the main reason to play this game. To stand there with the screen saying “winner winner chicken dinner” makes you feel as though you are on top of the digital world. You have outplayed and bested 99 other players and you feel rather chuffed with yourself. Some players may never see this screen – but you have and you are, quite clearly, the MVP (Most Valuable Player).
# 6 | Future Plans
The developer has made several promises about the future of the game. The most interesting, in my opinion, are the vaulting and new map. Vaulting would really improve the gameplay as there are numerous instances where walls are slightly too big to jump over or loot is slightly too high up to access. The new map also sounds promising as this would provide the game with more choice and new ways to get on top (and also provide veterans with the opportunity to try something new upon the games release).
#1 | Broken Promises
This is something that has frustrated me every time I read the details of each monthly update. There was a promise during the game’s early access release that there would never be a micro-transaction element to PUBG. Now there are crates that you can unlock by grinding but can be bought off the steam market and the ‘gamescon’ crates require keys which could only be purchased with real money to open (I cannot find statistics on how many keys were sold but this would, presumably, be added to the $390 million profits I stated earlier). This is frustrating for the following reason: it doesn’t bode well for the future. How long will it be until a pay-to-win system is in operation and players can purchase items to gain an unfair advantage on the battlefield. Although this has not happened yet, I would bare this in mind before purchasing this game as it may very well ruin the entire game mechanic.
#2 | Optimisation
Although I stated previously in the “Pros” list that there are regular updates to this game there are still huge issues with optimisation that can really ruin the overall game experience. Sometimes the map doesn’t properly render in meaning you can’t get that vital loot as soon as you are dropped into the map. This means that other players can kill you without giving you a chance to fight back. Moreover, there are huge issues with hit registration (also known as hit reg – this is when the game processes how bullets hit people) in PUBG. This leaves you feeling somewhat cheated, especially when some games take over half an hour.
#3 | Rigid Banning
During one of the monthly updates the developer produced a ‘code of conduct’ which outlined all the things that are prohibited in PUBG. It was a typical list of rules you would expect from a game – i.e. no cheating or abuse and so on. However, one rule which proves controversial is a ban on ‘streamer sniping’. For those who don’t know, streamer sniping is when a player in a game watches a live broadcast from a live stream and goes out of their way to kill them. It is sometimes referred to as streamer griefing. Now I don’t personally do this but, in my opinion, if somebody does it I don’t class it as cheating as such as they are just using information available to them. At the same time it is a bit silly and defeats the purpose of playing games such as PUBG. However, the game developer strongly disagrees and has prohibited it from PUBG. This has presented an entirely new issue, however, as now there are several reports of people being banned simply because they killed a streamer. We have to ask ourselves if it is banned how do they know that a person has intentionally stream sniped? We’ll never know but it has made a lot of players angry.
#4 | Servers
All you want to do in PUBG is jump straight into the action either as a lone wolf or in a squad with your friends. Sadly, this is regularly disrupted by servers being “too busy” or just refusing to load you in. And, when you do finally load in, some servers are just broken and produce server lag (not to be mistaken with network lag which is your problem not PUBG’S). This can be infuriating especially when you find good loot and have the drop on somebody just for the game to stutter as you take your shot and then you die.
#5 | Running Simulator
Although having an expansive map is a good thing it can cause problems when the zone is shrunk. If you don’t find a car, and trust me this is easily done, and the safe zone is on the other end of the map then good luck enjoying the next 30 minutes of your life because it is going to be spent running – for what feels like forever. What is annoying about this is how frequently it happens and how much it puts you off playing again.
#6 | Ignoring the Community
As you can see there are quite a few issues in this game. This is made more frustrating by the fact that ‘player unknown’ himself actively ignores promises he has made and the feedback he is given by the community he has created. For example, when told that the paid content has annoyed the majority of players he simply said that it doesn’t effect anything. Or, for example, when people complain about being banned for stream sniping when they didn’t he simply ignores them. This is what has led to the current dip in PUBG’s overall rating in steam. Upon its release it had ‘mostly positive’ reviews with 80% of players recommending it. Now, on the other hand, the most recent reviews state that only 42% of players recommend PUBG. This is close to a 50% drop in customer satisfaction.
In short, wait to buy this game. Be patient. If you’re desperate to get it then I recommend trying Fortnite’s BR mode first (see my review of this here) as this is free and gives a similar experience. Otherwise, don’t waste your money until the developer has cleaned up his act. Keep looking at those steam reviews and read the monthly updates. I would even go as far as to say wait for the official release as, hopefully, by that time the game might be salvaged. If not, then you have saved yourself 26 big ones. Thanks for reading. Please feel free to comment below about your experiences with PUBG.